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Mt. Huntington

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West Face Couloir T 

Mt. Huntington 

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Elevation: 12,240'
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Administrators: Jared LaVacque, Dommelhiemer, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: George Bell on Aug 1, 2008
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The west face of Mt. Huntington from the Upper Tok...
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Mt. Huntington was named after Archer Milton Huntington, former President of the American Geographical Society, sponsor of an early expedition up the Northwest branch of the Ruth Glacier. Unlike McKinley, Foraker, and Hunter, the mountain is not visible from "the plains" (i.e. Talkeetna) and for this reason apparently has no native name (like Denali, Sultana, and Begguya). From the upper Ruth or Tokasitna Glaciers, it appears as an impressive fang of snow or granite.

One defining feature of Mt. Huntington is there is no easy route to or from the summit. In fact, this peak sports arguably the lowest summit percentage of any peak in the Alaska range. Many an expert ice climber has raced with ease up the lower portions of the Nettle-Quirk, only to be humbled by loose, unconsolidated snow on the upper portion of the peak.

Mt. Huntington was first climbed in 1964 by a team led by the legendary French alpinist Lionel Terray, and received its first winter ascent in 2007 by Jed Brown and Colin Haley. I estimate that fewer than 100 people have stood on the summit of Mt. Huntington. When Kelly Cordes and Scott DeCapio completed the first one-day ascent of the mountain in 1998, Cordes commented, "I now understand why so many people stop at, ahem, 'the end of the difficulties.' "

The rock on the west face of Mt. Huntington is generally excellent granite. The north face is primarily steep snow and is quite dangerous (it has only been climbed once). The south and east sides of the peak have mixed snow, ice and rock routes, generally longer than routes on the west face.

Mt. Huntington has graced the covers of many climbing magazines. The mountain was profiled in Alpinist #20 (Summer 2007).

Getting There 

Fly to the Ruth or Tokasitna Glaciers. Most of the routes are better reached from the Tokasitna (upper or lower).

Further Reading 

"The Mountain of My Fear" by David Roberts is the classic tale of the first ascent of the Harvard Route. Available from the publisher Mountaineers Books or from

Lionel Terry's account of the first ascent is in the 1965 American Alpine Journal, you can download this for free. Search for "Huntington Lionel Terray" on the AAJ search page

Climbing Season

1 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Mt. Huntington
Aden and Paul doing the West Face Couloir, early May, 2010.  The temperature at basecamp was -15F that morning!  Sorry to not have found out surnames, hopefully a temporary omission. <br /> <br />Photo by Scott Visscher

West Face Couloir WI4+ M4 Steep Snow PG13  AK : Denali National Park : ... : Mt. Huntington
INTRODUCTIONThe easiest way to the summit is a major variation of the Harvard Route. Of course, it is not easy. Early senders of West Face Couloir surely pulled off one of best ice-climbs of their day, sans summit. HISTORYThe scariest part of West Face Couloir is getting to the summit via the Harvard Route. In 1965, the first ascent party lost a member to a mysterious rappel accident while descending the "Mountain of My Fear. Afterward, bad luck seemed to befall others, even a...[more]   Browse More Classics in AK

Photos of Mt. Huntington Slideshow Add Photo
Like a shark fin, the summit of Mt. Huntington pokes out of the clouds in this view from 19,000' on the South Buttress of Denali.
Like a shark fin, the summit of Mt. Huntington pok...
A view from Harvard Rt. down Stegosaurus towards Mt. Hunter 1994.
A view from Harvard Rt. down Stegosaurus towards M...
Mt Huntington
Mt Huntington
French Ridge, cover of Climbing #129...
JB. high on the Harvard Route West Face of Huntington 1994.
JB. high on the Harvard Route West Face of Hunting...
Doug Geeting landing on the Tokositna after days of heavy snow 1992.
Doug Geeting landing on the Tokositna after days o...
Jeff Burton following on The Harvard Rt. 1994.
Jeff Burton following on The Harvard Rt. 1994.
Cover of Climbing #65...
Cover of Alpinist #20.  This is a famous Bradford Washburn photograph.
BETA PHOTO: Cover of Alpinist #20. This is a famous Bra...
Mt Huntington and. the West Face
Mt Huntington and. the West Face
finishing seconding the nose pitch on the Harvard Route
finishing seconding the nose pitch on the Harvard ...
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Feb 6, 2014

David Roberts 1965 Harvard route ascent"The Mountain of my Fear" should be included in the History of this peak!